The Trojan Women

(Redirected from Die Vroue van Troje)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Trojan Women (Ancient Greek: Τρῳάδες, romanized: Trōiades) is a play by Euripides (480-406 BC)[1].

(Also translated as The Women of Troy or Women of Troy)

The original text

Produced in 415 BC during the Peloponnesian War, the play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and their remaining families taken away as slaves.

Translations and adaptations

The play has been widely translated and performed over the years.

Among the versions seen in South Africa have been:

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)[2] wrote a French version called Les Troyennes (1965). Mostly faithful to the original Greek text, it nevertheless includes veiled references to European imperialism in Asia, and emphases of existentialist themes.

In 1966 Sartre's version was translated into English as The Trojan Women by Ronald Duncan, for the Pop Theatre, London. A copy of the typed Pop Theatre text, used by the Little Theatre at the University of Cape Town (probably in 1967), found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022.

In 1974, Ellen Stewart, founder of La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York, presented another version of The Trojan Women as the last fragment of a Trilogy (including Medea and Electra). The experimental production went on to tour more than thirty countries over the course of forty years.

In 1944 an Afrikaans translation called Die Vroue van Troje was done by J.P.J. van Rensburg, first performed in 1944 and the text published by Nasionale Pers in 1945.

A new Afrikaans translation entitled Vroue van Troje was done by Evette Weyers in 1976.

In 1987 a free adaptation based on the translation by Van Rensburg and the adapted version by Sartre was done by Herman Pretorius. A typed found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022.

Performance history in South Africa

In South Africa the play is often done (in Afrikaans, English and other indigenous languages) by drama departments and amateur companies, in part because of the large female cast.

1919: First production recorded in South Africa was produced by Muriel Alexander and performed in the Pretoria Town Hall in 1919. This was said to be the first production of a Greek play in South Africa.

1941: Presented by the University of Cape Town's Speech and Drama Department at the Little Theatre in May, directed by Ruth Peffers.

1944: The Afrikaans version by J.P.J. van Rensburg performed as Die Vroue van Troje by the ADK in Cape Town, directed by Truida Louw, with Aletta Gericke as Kassandra, Ria Olivier, Fred le Roux, Dawid Fuchs, Minna Louw, Alida Gericke, Suzanne van Wyk.

1945: The Afrikaans version was performed once more in September, this time by Volksteater, Pretoria, to mark their tenth anniversary, and directed by Anna Neethling-Pohl and Jan Schutte, with decor by Kobus Esterhuysen.

1967: Performed in English by students of the University of Cape Town at the Little Theatre in May, directed by Rosalie van der Gucht with Babs Laker as guest artist.

1969: Hannes Horne directed students of the University of Pretoria drama department in an Afrikaans production, with Anna Neethling-Pohl as Hekabe.

1976: The Afrikaans translation by Evette Weyers was staged in adapted form as Vroue van Troje in the Upstairs Studio at the Market Theatre by The Company. It was workshopped and directed by Barney Simon, with Marius Weyers (Menelaus), Jana Cilliers (Pallas Athena), Wilna Snyman (Hekabe), Grethe Fox (Cassandra), Aletta Bezuidenhout (Andromache), Sandra Prinsloo (Helena), Lynne Greenblatt (Troje) and Evette Weyers. Lighting by Mannie Manim.

1977: A Rhodes University Drama Department production was directed by Gary Gordon in April 1977.

1984: In 1984 at the National Arts Festival a production was directed by Shirley Ellis, set designed by Robert Finlayson, lighting by Ellis and Mark Fleishman, costumes Claire Berlein, stage manager Mark Hoeben, starring Hoeben, Robert Finlayson, Belinda Koning, Isadora Verwey and others.

1987: Staged in English as Women of Troy by PACT in the Adcock-Ingram Auditorium for the inauguration of the Windybrow Centre for the Arts. Directed by Dieter Reible (assisted by Mitzi Booysen), the cast consisted of Dale Cutts (Menelaus), Babs Laker (Hecuba), Anthony Wilson (Talthybios), Zeona Jacobs (Polyxena), Aletta Bezuidenhout (Cassandra), Clare Stopford (Andromache), Nomsa Nene (Helen), Nomhle Nkonyeni, Jacqui Singer, Helene Truter, Bernadine Strutt, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Sean Jansma, Jamie McCallum, Themba Nyati, Adrian Galley, Andrew Donald and Dan Sebogodi. Designed by Chris van den Berg.

1987: A new adaptation, based on the Afrikaans version by Van Rensburg and the adapted version by J.P. Sartre, was done by by Herman Pretorius and directed by Marthinus Basson for Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the H.B. Thom Theatre. It featured Herman Pretorius, Sandra Temmingh, Veronica Lotz, Linda Pienaar, Illse Roos, Duncan Johnson and others.

2000: Geoffrey Hyland directed the play with students of the University of Cape Town.


Inskip, 1972. p.124. (1941 production).

Huisgenoot, 30(1224):3, 1945.

Trek, 8(23):15, 1944.

A typed copy of the 1944 Afrikaans translation (with annotations) by J.P.J. van Rensburg, found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022.

The Trojan Women theatre programme (Little Theatre, 1967).

The Company theatre programme, 1976.

National Arts Festival programme, 1984.

UTS theatre programme

PACT theatre programme, 1987.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page